Aji Ichi Sapporo Ramen - More than Just a House of Noodles
Restaurant Review by Ken Stewart, The Guam Food Guy
There's more than good noodles at Aji Ichi Sapporo Ramen in Upper Tumon, located directly across the street from Nissan. That's what I was able to discover first hand when we had dinner there recently. My colleague, Gail, strongly recommended that I try the Pork Ginger Set ($8.75), one of several Set Menu offerings at Aji Ichi. When the plate arrived, I was almost sorry we'd ordered appetizers, since it was a large meal, complete with corn, miso soup, sauteed bean sprouts, bamboo shoots, a big bowl of rice, and a pile of marvelously aromatic pork cooked with onions and ginger. The tender pork was sliced to deliver the full flavor of its unique blend of seasonings in which it had been cooked. You can always tell when food is exceptional when the very last bite is as good as the first. I probably would have ordered seconds had there not been another entree on our table.
I was joined by Carol for this exploratory dinner (it was her first time at Aji Ichi, and my first time at this location). I had eaten lunch several times at its former location in Tumon a few years back (in my BFG "Before Food Guy" days), and recalled that the ramen was always a favorite. Tonight, we started our meal with a California Roll ($3.75) order, followed by a Futomaki (eel) Sushi Roll ($3.75). These were acceptable, though nothing to rave about. My preferred Futomaki experience was at the Reef's Sango Restaurant.
Along with the Pork Ginger Set, we ordered the Chicken Teriyaki Set ($8.75). This was another surprise, more so since we expected Teriyaki chicken (either baked, broiled, or grilled, but certainly not fried!). However, it was really very tasty, since the chicken was fried like Chicken Kaarage, with less batter. There was a Teriyaki sauce drizzled over the outside to give it a flavor, much like a dipping sauce. The portion was generous, and the fresh cole slaw and corn rounded out this entree. We split a large bottle of Kirin ($5.50) which lasted for the entire meal. I was tempted to have some sake, but opted for hot tea instead.
Aji Ichi has a large selection of ramen noodle dishes, including a delicious Chashu Ramen (I can personally vouch for as having some of the largest portions of tender pork), as well as fried noodles and fried rice. One of our neighbors ordered Fried Mixed Vegetables ($6.50), which appeared to be an ideal vegetarian entree. Other entrees include Tendon, Katsudon, Gyudon, and Chicken Don. The nightly specials at Aji Ichi are priced at $12.00 and is a large bento box with varying ingredients. They always have a sample displayed at the entrance.
For lunch, Aji Ichi serves the following daily specials: Pork Ginger Fried Rice (Monday); Shanghai/Gyoza (Tuesday); Bento Box (Wednesday); Beef Teriyaki Fried Rice (Thursday); and Tempura/Sashimi (Friday). All are served with Ice Tea and are priced in the $7.00 - $7.50 range. The view overlooking Tumon from the large bay window is impressive.
Aji Ichi is owned by Mrs. Keiko Tsuraga, and you can see her every day working in the kitchen and walking throughout the restaurant, making sure customers are satisfied. Service is prompt and seating is adequate. Aji Ichi is open daily, serving lunch from 11:30 am to 2:30 pm, and dinner from 5:30 pm to 10:00 pm. A second, smaller location is in the Guam Premium Outlets Food Court, and is open from 10:00 am to 9:00 p.m.